Celebrating Birthdays In New Creative Ways
Birthday parties are a celebration of life and love. We like to celebrate birthdays with cakes, candles and balloons, not to mention with a room full of people we love. Birthdays are more than a celebration of age; they are a time to come together as a community and show affection for those in our lives. For many families, birthdays serve as a welcome occasion for distant relatives and old friends to get together outside of major holidays.
The recent social distancing policy and fear of COVID-19 has put a halt to the joy of birthday parties. We are no longer allowed to gather in large groups and share hugs with every guest. People are relegated to their cars, developing birthday parades by honking repetitively at our loved ones as we drive slowly by their house.
“My family and I have recently participated in two such birthday parades for kids in our neighborhood and cried each time for the loss of what birthdays meant to me,” says GF Mom Certified Tiffany Hinton. “I cried as my kids asked what’s wrong. How do I explain they are missing the giggles, the joy, the hugs and the cake? And as I plan my own daughter’s birthday parade, I cannot help but think, ‘Is this the new normal?’”
As hard as the shift may feel for families, this new birthday “normal” can become a new kind of fun. Now we get to celebrate our revolution around the sun with a parade led with sirens and flashing lights, followed by decorated cars filled with friends and neighbors holding banners, music blaring and balloons everywhere as they celebrate, maybe even dropping presents in a special driveway box for the birthday child to open later.
Thankfully, the cake is still an honored tradition. Although bakeries and grocery stores may no longer offer the options we expect, we can still make cakes at home with our families. Celebrate creativity, joy and quality time in the gift of a homemade cake.
Yields: 36 cupcakes or three, nine-inch layers
1 cup hot coffee
½ cup allergy-sensitive dark chocolate chips
2 cups allergy-sensitive cake flour blend
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine sea salt
2 cups sugar
½ cup grape seed oil or melted vegan butter
½ cup aqua faba (the liquid poured off from a can of beans), shaken to slightly frothy (replaces 2 large eggs)
1 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1½ tsp vanilla extract
Prepare the cupcake pan by inserting cupcake wrappers of your choice. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Mix chocolate chips and hot brewed coffee in a small bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Sift together flour blend, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add sugar and oil to a mixer fitted with paddle attachment and allow to mix on medium for 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix coconut milk and lemon juice, allow to sit for 3-5 minutes to curdle slightly, remembering to scrape down the side of the mixing bowl.
Turn the mixer to low and add frothy aqua faba ¼ cup at a time for best results. Add melted mocha mixture and vanilla extract. Scrape down the side.
Add ½ cup flour mixture followed by ½ cup of milk mixture. Repeat, ending with flour blend. Mix until just blended avoiding the creation of air bubbles.
Fill cupcake liners to ¾ full and bake for 30 minutes. Cupcakes will be spongy when done.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely prior to frosting or decorating.
As seen in Natural Awakenings Magazine. Connect on social media @NACHICAGO.